Sunday, June 29, 2008

Know Your Enemy - Samir Kuntar

And see him for what he is...that's probably the first rule of warfare...and the one that Israelis too often are forced to ignore. Our enemy can be summed up in the prisoner exchange we are about to implement, now that the Cabinet has approved it.

We will release Samir Kuntar. He will go back to Lebanon, healthy and whole. He's been well fed over the years, his medical needs addressed. He likely had a television to watch, at least part of the time, and the Red Cross to come and bring him messages of hope and love from his family.

In exchange, while Lebanon dances, Israel will mourn. Few in Israel, even the Goldwasser and Regev families themselves, really believe deep down that their sons and husband still live. Soon, the horrible waiting period, the agony of not knowing, will be over for them. But with that knowledge will come the pain that all they did couldn't have changed the bitter reality. They, like all of Israel, has been played and manipulated. The government does not want the same anger that accompanied the last time we exchanged hundreds of prisoners for three dead bodies and a drug dealer. So, we are being prepared, ever so gently, so that it will come as a shock to none.

As we release this child-killer, this murderer, this person who showed the ultimate cruelty to a young and innocent child, let us know our enemy. Kuntar is the face and the heart of Nasrallah and those who seek to destroy us.

According to Palestinian Media Watch:

According to the Palestinian Authority leadership, Samir Quntar epitomizes the ideal Palestinian prisoner. Quntar, who crushed the head of four-year-old Eynat Haran with his rifle, is serving four life sentences for murder in an Israeli prison, but is almost certain to be freed in a prisoner swap with Hizbullah this week. On one hand, Quntar embodies what the PA considers the "heroism" of terrorists fighting Israel. On the other hand, he's the ultimate symbol of all terrorist prisoners who have murdered Israelis and will eventually be freed as a result of future kidnappings or through some other means.

PA TV, controlled by Mahmoud Abbas, broadcast the following picture honoring
Quntar. He is depicted beside a map of Israel completely covered by the Palestinian flag.

[PATV, 23-25 June 2008]

Following are several recent quotes from PA leaders since April 2008, describing Quntar:

  • "Samir Quntar, the warrior from Lebanon."
  • "The brave warrior, Samir Quntar."
  • "The Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership are standing behind you (Quntar)."
  • "You (Quntar) are an inseparable part of the action to free our homeland."
  • Your (Quntar) patience and strength are a lesson for us."

Besides bludgeoning Eynat Haran to death with rocks and his rifle, Quntar killed her father and was responsible for the death of her infant sister. He also killed two policemen in the 1979 attack in Naharia. The Israeli cabinet today approved a prisoner exchange that would free Quntar and several other prisoners in exchange for Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who were kidnapped by Hizbullah in 2006. The exchange could happen within the next few days.

Friday, June 27, 2008

What Things Has Your Country Done in the Last 6 Months?

Hard question for many of us...made easier for Israelis with this recent email I received:


1. Scientists in Israel, found that the brackish water, drilled from underground desert aquifers, hundreds of feet deep, could be used to raise warm-water fish. The geothermal water, less than one-tenth as saline as sea water, free of pollutants, and a toasty 98 degrees on average, proves an ideal environment.

2. Israeli-developed designer-eyeglasses, promise mobile phone and iPod users, a personalized, high-tech video display. Available to US consumers next year, Lumus-Optical's lightweight and fashionable video eyeglasses, feature a large transparent screen, floating in front of the viewer's face that projects their choice of movie, TV show, or video Game.

3. When Stephen Hawkins visited Israel recently, he shared his wisdom with scientists, students, and even the Prime Minister. But the world's most renown victim of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, also learned something, due to the Israeli Association for ALS' advanced work in both embryonic and adult stem cell research, as well as its proven track record with neurodegenerative diseases. The Israeli research community is well on its way, to finding a treatment for this fatal disease, which affects 30,000 Americans.

4. Israeli start-up, Veterix, has developed an innovative new electronic capsule that sits in the stomach of a cow, sheep, or goat, sending out real-time information on the health of the herd, to the farmer via Email or cell phone. The e-capsule, which also sends out alerts if animals are distressed, injured, or lost, is now being tested on a herd of cows, in the hopes that the device will lead to tastier and healthier meat and milk supplies.

5. The millions of Skype users worldwide will soon have access to the newly developed KishKish lie-detector. This free internet service, based on voice stress analysis (a technique, commonly used in criminal investigations), will be able to measure just how truthful that person on the other end of the line, really is.

6. Beating cardiac tissue has been created in a lab from human embryonic stem cells by researchers at the Rappaport Medical Faculty and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology's biomedical Engineering faculty. The work of Dr. Shulamit Levenberg and Prof. Lior Gepstein, has also led to the creation of tiny blood vessels within the tissue, making possible its implantation in a human heart.

7. Israel's Magal Security Systems, is a worldwide leader in computerized security systems, with products used in more than 70 countries around the world, protecting anything from national borders, to nuclear facilities, refineries, and airports. The company's latest Product, DreamBox, a state-of-the-art security system that includes Intelligent video, audio and sensor management, is now being used by a major water authority on the US east coast to safeguard the utility's sites.

8. It is common knowledge that dogs have better night vision than humans and a vastly superior sense of smell and hearing. Israel's Bio-Sense Technologies, recently delved further, and electronically analyzed 350 different barks. Finding that dogs of all breeds and sizes, bark the same alarm when they sense a threat, the firm has designed the dog bark-reader, a sensor that can pick up a dog's alarm bark, and alert the human operators. This is just one of a batch of innovative security systems to emerge from Israel, which Forbes calls 'the go-to country for anti-terrorism technologies.'

9. Israeli company, BioControl Medical, sold its first electrical stimulator to treat urinary incontinence to a US company for $50 Million. Now, it is working on CardioFit, which uses electrical nerve stimulation to treat congestive heart failure. With nearly five million Americans presently affected by heart failure, and more than 400,000 new cases diagnosed yearly, the CardioFit is already generating a great deal of excitement as the first device with the potential to halt this deadly disease.

10. One year after Norway's Socialist Left Party launched its boycott Israel campaign, the importing of Israeli goods has increased by 15%, the strongest increase in many years, Statistics Norway reports.

In contrast to the efforts of tiny Israel to make contributions to the world so as to better mankind, one has to ask what have those who have strived to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth done other than to create hate and bloodshed.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Creative Rememberances

Israelis mourn deeply for our lost loved ones, perhaps even more deeply for those that we feel were taken before their time. One such young man was Asaf Zur. Asaf was murdered by terrorists in 2003, when he was only 17 years old.

His father has come up with a most creative way to remember Asaf and keep his memory alive. When you go on vacation this summer, take Asaf (nicknamed Blondi) with you. Leave his picture somewhere so others will remember him. And take a picture of his picture somewhere and send it to his father. Blondi never lived to travel the world, but his image and travel the globe...if you help his parents remember him.

According to YNET:

Father of terror victim launches world tour of remembrance Asaf Zur was killed in Haifa's 2003 suicide attack when he was only 17. Attempting to keep his adventurous spirit alive, his family is asking trekkers to take 'Blondi's picture on their journey, to leave his mark across globe
Lior El-Chai
06.24.08, 18:17 / Israel News

A trip to remember: Asaf Zur was supposed to be released from the army a few months ago, make some cash and like many young Israelis, take off on a tour of the world.
But Asaf, nicknamed ‘Blondi’ by his friends, did not complete his army service. He didn’t even make it through high school. Instead, Asaf was killed five years ago merely 17-years-old.
Fifteen other people, more than half of which were pupils returning home from school, were murdered by his side when an explosive device carried by a suicide-bomber tore apart Egged’s Number 37 bus on Moriah Avenue in Haifa.

Asaf is survived by his parents, Lea and Yossi Zur, and his two brothers Arik and Almog. After his death, his parents gave birth to another son, Eitan, now 3.

Asaf was supposed to celebrate his 22 birthday last April. “If he was still with us today, his father Yossi said in pain, “he would have gone out to conquer the world with his friends. Blondi loved surfing, and practically lived among the waves. He would have traveled to the beaches of Hawaii and Australia and would have experienced amazing things.

“That will no longer happen,” Yossi says. “That’s why I am asking Israeli and foreign travelers: Please take him, his picture with you on your journey. Share your journey with and take Blondi with you wherever you go.”

Yossi posed his son’s picture on the website commemorating him ( and on trekkers’ forums. The photo is accompanied by the following text in Hebrew and English: “I was killed in a terror attack; my father sending me, my picture on a world tour. Take this page with you and email my dad ( a photo with it from wherever you are, so he can make an album in my memory.”

“Take a picture with him next to the Chinese Wall and on a trek in Nepal, on a beach in Goa and in New Zealand’s forests, in a market in Thailand and in the mountains of Chile, in US parks and on a cruise in Alaska – wherever you go” his father asks.

“Hang his picture on a bulletin board at the hotel or guest house you stay in. Leave it along the trek. This way, tourists from other countries can take Blondi with them around the world. We will use the thousands of pictures we receive to put together an travel album of a journey my son will never make.”

Hold Onto Your Hats...Don't be Shocked

The ceasefire that began last Thursday - the one that meant the two sides were not supposed to be firing at each other...was broken last night when Palestinians fired a mortar at Israel, and again today when four rockets were launched against Israel. And, since this blog is presenting Israel and how Israelis think, I have to be honest and tell you that the only thing that might surprise that it lasted this long. Sad, truly sad...but true.


As reported by Israel National News:

Four Kassam rockets were launched in an attack on Israel by Palestinian Authority terrorists in Gaza on Tuesday afternoon, wounding one Israeli civilian and sending several others, including children, into shock.

Three of the rockets slammed into the city of Sderot, one scoring a direct hit on an empty house. A fourth rocket exploded in a field in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council area.

The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization officially claimed responsibility for the barrage -- the second such attack within the past 24 hours since the Egyptian-brokered temporary truce between Israel and Hamas terrorists in Gaza went into effect last Thursday.

Monday, June 23, 2008

How We Remember, How We Honor

This next article is so very typical of Israel, even though one of the main people in the story, doesn't even live here. It's the story of two cousins, separated by a great distance and even by a relatively large age gap. Noam Meyerson was 23 years old when he was killed in Lebanon during the Second Lebanon War. I attended his funeral with a friend, watching from the distance as his family mourned him. I'd worked briefly with his father, exchanged some emails, met at some common events in our community of technical writers. I was not connected enough with the family to feel comfortable intruding on their time of grief and yet I could not ignore his passing and so, like thousands of others, I stood and mourned beside his grave to pay my respects.

Often, Israelis take their grief and produce something meaningful out of it, some means of maintaining what they have lost by creating something good. This is what a young girl, a cousin of Noam's, has done. In Israel, we say "Kol HaKavod" - all honor, to Katie for caring enough to remember, and being dedicated enough to persist.

According to YNET:

Two years after losing her beloved cousin to a Lebanese tank missile, Katie Meyerson decides to build commemorative playground in Kiryat Shmona, funded only by money from Bat Mitzvah, toy sales

by: David Regev

13-year-old Katie from New York had a soft spot in her heart for her cousin Noam from Israel: But this great love was brutally cut short when Noam was killed by a Hizbullah missile during the Second Lebanon War. His beloved cousin Katie decided to commemorate him by building a playground in his name in Kiryat Shmona.

This is the story of an amazing friendship between two cousins: Katie Meyerson living in New York with her mother Sandy, and her 23-year-old cousin Noam Meyerson from Jerusalem. Sandy is the sister of Noam’s father Haim.

“Katie used to visit Israel once a year and Noam would take her on trips and spend time with her,” a family member said. “They had a very close relationship despite the age difference.”

During the Second Lebanon War, Noam was called in for reserve duty, and joined a tank squadron uniting with a paratroopers’ force near the village of Bint Jbeil. An anti-tank missile hit the main tank leading the force, instantly killing Noam and squadron commander Yotam Lotan.

The news of Noam’s death broke Katie’s heart. In her sadness and pain, Katie decided to honor her cousin and the special bond they shared.

“At first I built a website in his memory,” Katie said. “After that, I decided to build a playground in his name, and to locate it in one of the country’s northern cities that have been hurt by Hizbullah's missiles. I chose Kiryat Shmona for this.”

Katie began raising funds for the project. She sold teddy bears and T-shirts on the internet bearing the slogan: “Make Games Not War.” She also sent e-mails to her friends, asking them to donate money in Noam’s memory.

'He would have been happy'
Even Katie’s Bat Mitzvah was dedicated to her new initiative, and she asked her relatives for money instead of gifts. The response was rewarding, and soon Katie had raised $10,000.
She also approached the Jewish Agency, which joined in the project and contacted the Kiryat Shmona Municipality, which in turn agreed to build the playground in town.

Katie and her mother Sandy arrived in Israel Tuesday night to participate in the playground’s cornerstone ceremony. “Noam was only 23 when a Hizbullah missile took away his smile. Had he been alive today, he would have been happy to see us building a playground in a city that has suffered from missile attacks,” Katie said.

Noam’s family members have also taken the initiative to commemorate him. “Noam loved nature. That’s why we chose to build a center for Jewish and environmental studies in the Mitzpe Ramon Educational Center. The new center will be named Darchei Noam and will aim to teach Judaism through observing nature,” said Noam's mother Gila.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Preparing for War

Recent news articles have detailed Israeli training maneuvers to help our pilots learn how to attack Iran's nuclear reactors. It is a given in Israel that Iran can not go nuclear. One only has to listen to Ahmadinejad to know what he is planning.

A recent article in the Jerusalem Post highlights this important debate in Israel:

Analysis: Iran's talk of destroying Israel must not get lost in translation

Jun. 22, 2008
Joshua Teitelbaum/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Over the past several years, Iranian leaders - most prominently, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - have made numerous statements calling for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. Some of these statements have been interpreted by certain journalists and experts on Iran to be simple expressions of dissatisfaction with the Israeli presence in the West Bank or eastern Jerusalem, or with the current Israeli government and its policies.
Juan Cole of the University of Michigan argues that Ahmadinejad was not calling for the destruction of Israel, saying, "Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map because no such idiom exists in Persian." The British Guardian's Jonathan Steele argued that Ahmadinejad was simply remarking that "this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time." Steele continues: "He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The 'page of time' phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon."

Scholars continue to soft-pedal the Iranian President's words. Professor Stephen Walt, who previously served as academic dean of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and co-authored The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy along with Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, told a Jerusalem audience during a joint appearance in early June 2008, "I don't think he is inciting to genocide," when asked about Ahmadinejad's call to wipe Israel off the map.

In reality, the intent behind Ahmadinejad's language is clear. Those who seek to excuse Iranian leaders should not remain unchallenged when they use the tools of scholarship as a smokescreen to obfuscate these extreme and deliberate calls for the destruction of Israel. Language entails meaning. These statements have been interpreted by leading Iranian blogs and news outlets - some official - to mean the destruction of Israel.

US Congress Debate on Translating AhmadinejadTranslating Ahmadinejad's statements is not purely an academic matter. When in 2007 the US House of Representatives debated a resolution calling on the UN Security Council to charge Ahmadinejad with violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the United Nations Charter because of his repeated calls for the destruction of Israel (H. Con. Res. 21), the issue of the accuracy of the translation of his remarks came up in the House debate.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) requested that alternative translations of Ahmadinejad's language - like that of South African political scientist Virginia Tilley - be introduced into the Congressional Record. These versions assert the Iranian president was only seeking a change of regime in Israel and not the physical elimination of the country. H. Con. Res. 21 was adopted by a majority of 411 to 2, with Rep. Kucinich and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) voting against.

Examining Ahmadinejad's LanguageWhat emerges from a comprehensive analysis of what Ahmadinejad actually said - and how it has been interpreted in Iran - is that the Iranian president was not just calling for "regime change" in Jerusalem, but rather the actual physical destruction of the State of Israel. After all, it is hard to wipe a country off the map without destroying its population as well.

The Iranian government itself reinforced this understanding with its own rendition of his slogans on posters and billboards during official parades. Those who try to make Ahmadinejad's statements excusable by narrowing their meaning to a change of Israel's ruling coalition are misleading their readers. The plain meaning of what Ahmadinejad has declared constitutes a call for genocide - the destruction of the Jewish state and its residents.

A contextual examination of these statements demonstrates beyond a doubt that when Iranian leaders use the euphemism "Zionist regime" or "the Jerusalem-occupying regime," they are most definitely referring to the State of Israel and not to the present regime. Iranian leaders are simply following the time-worn practice in the Arab world of referring to the "Zionist regime" in an attempt to avoid dignifying Israel by recognizing its name.

Iranian leaders are also not talking about a non-directed, natural historical process that will end with Israel's demise. Rather, they are actively advocating Israel's destruction and have made it clear that they have the will and the means to effect it.

Ahmadinejad's "Wipe Israel Off the Map" SpeechIn an address to the "World without Zionism" Conference held in Teheran on October 26, 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said: "Our dear Imam [Khomeini] ordered that this Jerusalem-occupying regime [Israel] must be erased from the page of time. This was a very wise statement."

The New York Times translated the statement as Israel "must be wiped off the map," a non-literal translation which nevertheless conveyed the meaning of the original - the destruction of Israel. Despite the international controversy that Ahmadinejad's language generated, a report on his October 2005 speech was still available on his presidential website as of May 2008.
"Jerusalem-Occupying Regime" - Another Name for the State of IsraelSoft-pedaling Ahmadinejad's call for the destruction of Israel, Prof. Cole told the New York Times that all Ahmadinejad had said was that "he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse."

Official Iranian spokespersons and organs have since based their slogans on Ahmadinejad's statement, and have loosely translated the statement as "Israel should be wiped off the face of the world." This is evident in pictures showing banners and signs in parades and ceremonies. Even the Iranian newscaster that introduced the report on the "World without Zionism" Conference used the word "Israel" (instead of the "Jerusalem-occupying regime") and also the word "world" (instead of the "page of time"), and thus referred to Ahmadinejad's statement as "erasing Israel, this disgraceful stain, from the world" (clip available from the Jerusalem Center upon request).

While Iranian leaders are well aware that they are watched by the international media and occasionally soften the wording of their statements accordingly, they are less careful in internal forums and events. When Ahmadinejad punctuates his speech before a large crowd with "Death to Israel" (marg bar Esraiil), this is no longer open to various interpretations. He is openly calling for the destruction of a country - and not a regime.

Dehumanization as Prelude to Genocide: Israel as an InfectionIn the same speech of October 26, 2005, Ahmadinejad returned to the theme of Israel as dirty vermin which needed to be eradicated: "Soon this stain of disgrace will be cleaned from the garment of the world of Islam, and this is attainable."

In order to remove any doubt in the mind of the Persian reader that Ahmadinejad is referring to Israel, the Iranian president's official site,, interpolates the word "Esraiil" in its report on the speech to explain the expression "stain of disgrace."

A common motif of genocide incitement is the dehumanization of the target population. The Nazi weeklyDer Stürmer portrayed Jews as parasites and locusts. In the early 1990s, Hutu propaganda in Rwanda against the Tutsis described them as "cockroaches." Prior to Saddam Hussein's operations against the Iraqi Shi'ite population in 1991, his Baath Party newspaper characterized them as "monkey-faced people." Similarly, President Ahmadinejad has called Israeli Jews "cattle," "blood thirsty barbarians," and "criminals."

Dehumanization has also appeared in other forms, like demonization, by which the target population is described as "Satanic" - a theme specifically used by Ahmadinejad. The theme of the Israeli germ or microbe is also a common one with the Iranian president. In his speech before a crowd in Bandar Abbas on February 20, 2008, Ahmadinejad said: "In the Middle East, they [the global powers] have created a black and filthy microbe called the Zionist regime, so they could use it to attack the peoples of the region, and by using this excuse, they want to advance their schemes for the Middle East."

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Israel's founding, the President of Iran stated that "global arrogance established the Zionist regime 60 years ago." The Islamic Republic News Agency reported: "President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday labeled the Zionist regime as a 'stinking corpse' and said those who think they can revive the corpse of this fabricated and usurper regime are mistaken."

The Destruction of Israel is Achievable and Imminent - Not a Long-Term Historical ProcessAccording to President Ahmadinejad, ridding the world of the germ Israel is possible and imminent. On April 14, 2006, Ahmadinejad insisted that Israel was "heading towards annihilation." He added that Israel was: "A dried, rotten tree that will collapse with a single storm."

The President of Iran told a press conference on March 14, 2008, held during a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Senegal: "The Zionist regime is on its way out [destructible]."

Referring to the US (the "Great Satan") and Israel (the "Little Satan"), Ahmadinejad said at a military parade on April 17, 2008: "The region and the world are prepared for great changes and for being cleansed of Satanic enemies."

For Ahmadinejad, Iran's support for the Palestinians will help them destroy the State of Israel. He told a press conference on May 13, 2008: "This terrorist and criminal state is backed by foreign powers, but this regime would soon be swept away by the Palestinians." A day later, Ahmadinejad spoke in Gorgan, in northern Iran, declaring, "Israel's days are numbered," adding that "the peoples of the region would not miss the narrowest opportunity to annihilate this false regime." In a public address shown on the Iranian news channel on June 2, 2008, Ahmadinejad again reiterated: "Thanks to God, your wish will soon be realized, and this germ of corruption will be wiped off the face of the world." Clearly, Ahmadinejad's call for the imminent destruction of Israel was not a one-time event in 2005, but rather publicly declared on multiple occasions.
Israelis as a "Falsified People"Ahmadinejad was fully prepared to make his assertions about Jews and Israel in the Western press, as well. In an interview that appeared in the French daily Le Monde on February 5, 2008, he said the Jews of Israel are: "a people falsified, invented, [the people of Israel] will not last; they must leave the territory."

From the interview it is clear he believes that Israelis will not endure and will not continue to stay on the territory on which they are living. This is not a call for a change of government or new policies alone, but rather for the removal of Israel's Jewish population from the country, either by ethnic cleansing or physical destruction.

How the Statements Are Understood in IranBlogs and ForumsWhile certain Western commentators on Iran seek to whitewash Ahmadinejad's statements on Israel, pro- and anti-regime Iranians (and others in the region) have no doubt that the Iranian president is referring to the destruction of Israel, according to Iranian blogs and forums. There are close to 180,000 Persian-language blogs, and Iranians constitute 53 percent of Internet users in the Middle East.
In the Ham-Mihan Forum, the question was raised about Ahmadinejad's declaration that the countdown towards Israel's destruction had begun. Among the 71 responses:
"My opinion is that first you [Ahmadinejad] should fix up your own country, and then you can say that Israel should be destroyed. The people in Iran don't have bread and we are concerned with Palestine."

"I wish that all of this energy that is devoted to the destruction of Israel would be directed towards the destruction of drug addiction, poverty, corruption and prostitution."
Bloggers at Imam Sadegh University called for boycotting Israeli products, with the following message: "Dear bloggers: If you would like to do so, you can take the first steps towards obliterating Israel from the map of the world."

The Iranian blogs reflect a wide range of views regarding statements by Iranian leaders - primarily Ahmadinejad - on the destruction of Israel. His statement at the "World without Zionism" Conference is widely quoted in blogs - by those supporting the statement, those critical of the statement, and those who support the statement but question the wisdom of the timing. One fact cannot be disputed - Ahmadinejad's statement that "the Jerusalem-occupying regime must be erased from the page of time" was interpreted by Persian-language bloggers - without exception - as meaning the physical destruction of the State of Israel.Resalat Daily Reflects on an Ahmadinejad Speech: "The Great War Is Ahead of Us"Resalat, a conservative Iranian daily, published an editorial on October 22, 2006, entitled "Preparations for the Great War," in which it reflected on a speech given by Ahmadinejad two days earlier. It stated: "It must not be forgotten that the great war is ahead of us, perhaps tomorrow, or in a few months, or even a few years. The nation of Muslims must prepare for the great war, so as to completely wipe out the Zionist regime, and remove this cancerous growth (emphasis added).Calls for the Destruction of Israel Are Echoed Throughout Iran at Military Parades, Billboards, and DemonstrationsEven before Ahmadinejad himself spoke about wiping Israel off the map, the Iranian regime used such expressions but did not leave any doubt about what stood behind this phraseology.

By juxtaposing its call for Israel's elimination with a Shahab 3 missile during a military parade, the Iranian regime itself has clarified that these expressions about Israel's future do not describe a long-term historical process, in which the Israeli state collapses by itself like the former Soviet Union, but rather the actual physical destruction of Israel as a result of a military strike. The Shahab 3 missile has a range of 1,300 kilometers and can reach Israel from launch points in Iranian territory. Once Iran has completed the production of sufficient quantities of highly enriched uranium - or weapons-grade plutonium - there is no reason why Iran cannot deploy a future Iranian nuclear weapon on a Shahab 3 missile in order to carry out Ahmadinejad's threat to wipe Israel off the map.

In a Friday sermon, former Iranian President Rafsanjani made the statement: "If one day, a very important day of course, the Islamic world will also be equipped with the weapons available to Israel now, the imperialist strategy will reach an impasse, because the employment of even one atomic bomb inside Israel will wipe it off the face of the earth, but would only do damage to the Islamic world (emphasis added)."The Statements of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali KhameneiIn the Iranian system, the highest ranking political authority is the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who succeeded Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989. Khamenei has made statements about Israel similar to Ahmadinejad. In a Friday sermon on December 15, 2000 (shown on Iranian TV), he declared: "Iran's position, which was first expressed by the Imam [Khomeini] and stated several times by those responsible, is that the cancerous tumor called Israel must be uprooted from the region."

A month later on January 15, 2001, at a meeting with organizers of the International Conference for Support of the Intifada, he stated: "The foundation of the Islamic regime is opposition to Israel and the perpetual subject of Iran is the elimination of Israel from the region."
Iranian journalist Kasra Naji translated this sentence from the original Farsi as follows: "It is the mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to erase Israel from the map of the region."
Incitement to GenocideAhmadinejad's statements have also been reviewed by experts on the Middle East and the Persian language.

Michael Axworthy served as the Head of the Iran Section of Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1998-2000 and then subsequently as a lecturer at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. He clearly rejects the notion that Ahmadinejad has been mistranslated and misinterpreted: "The formula had been used before by Khomeini and others, and had been translated by representatives of the Iranian regime as 'wiped off the map.' Some of the dispute that has arisen over what exactly Ahmadinejad meant by it has been rather bogus. When the slogan appeared draped over missiles in military parades, that meaning was pretty clear."

Viewed in context, the statements of Iran's leaders and, in particular, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad constitute incitement to genocide of the people of Israel. They are alarmingly similar to the coded statements of incitement that preceded the Rwandan genocide of the Tutsis in 1994, and should therefore alarm all peace-loving peoples.

There is an ample legal basis for the prosecution of Ahmadinejad in the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court for direct and public incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity.

Dr. Joshua Teitelbaum, Visiting Senior Fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is Senior Research Fellow, Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Tel Aviv University, and Rosenbloom Israeli Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, and W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-Campbell National Fellow at the Hoover Institution, both at Stanford University. He has authored and edited several books on the modern Middle East. His latest is Political Liberalization in the Persian Gulf, forthcoming from Columbia University Press.

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1213794295236&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Torturing a Family

There are so many facets to life in Israel - a simple society, it is not.

Yet another facet is our ongoing struggle to get back our soldiers who are being held captive. We know their names, we live with them missing, we suffer with their families. There are many Arabs being held in Israeli jails. For each, there is a crime or a suspicion of a crime associated with his (or her) name.

With due process and a court system in place, each will have his day of justice, each serve his time, and each be released according to the court's judgement...unless...unless the government comes in and makes a deal - releasing hundreds for a few. The precendent has been set and repeated over and over again. What worth does an Israeli life have in the eyes of the government and people of Israel? The answer, is that it is priceless...even when there is no life.

A few years ago, Israel released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners - for three bodies and a drug dealer. Now, we are trying desperately to find out the condition of the two soldiers kidnapped from our land by Hizbollah in the north and trying to negotiate to get Gilad Shalim back from Gaza.

We know that Shalit is alive. We don't know about the other two soldiers, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.

Those that sit in Israeli prisons are treated well, have full access to medical care, food and more. We know nothing of what medical treatment Ehud and Eldad were given after their capture. We do not know how or where Gilad is being held. Contrary to international law, human rights organizations are not given access to check on our soldiers.

The only good news we have received recently was a letter from Gilad to his family. We can only pray it is a prelude to his coming home:

"Dear Mom and Dad,

My dear family, I miss you very much. Two long and difficult years have passed since we last parted and I was forced to begin living life as a captive. I continue to suffer medical and psychological difficulties and the depression that is part of this sort of life.

As in my previous letters, I sincerely hope your mental and physical wellbeing has not suffered since you began life without me. I still think and dream of the day I am freed and see you again, and still I keep the hope that that day is near, but I know it is not in your hands or in mine.

I call on the government not to neglect the negotiations for my release and direct its efforts only on the release of the soldiers in Lebanon."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ok, and you are fired!

Israelis have...shall we say...a unique way of dealing with their government leaders and those in authority. In the United States and in many other places in the Western world, people treat their government representatives with respect, even if they disagree.

Israelis will argue right back, if they feel someone in government is wrong. There is a general sense that they are people, not gods, not greater in value or wisdom than the rest of us. Often, will they be offered advice, and told what we, the people, think about the job they are doing.

Apparently for many, at least those living close to Gaza who suffer from daily rocket and mortar attacks, disgust with the army and government's inability to stop the barrages has led to a new level of frustration. So much so, apparently, that one resident from the south felt he had the right to fire the Deputy Defense Minister, Matan Vilnai.

According to YNET:

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai (Labor) received a ‘letter of dismissal' from a western Negev resident during his Tuesday meeting with the Gaza Vicinity communities’ council heads.

“In light of your inability to fulfill the duties for which you have been appointed deputy, we hereby inform you that your services are no longer required and that you are no longer welcome in our region. You have wrongly accused us of cowardice and have abandoned the residents,” southern resident Ofer Shmerling wrote to Vilnai.

Monday, June 16, 2008

And we work too hard too...

According to a recent study, Israelis are among the hardest, longest working populations in the world. Living in Israel, I can tell you this is no surprise. We do work very long hours - but the amazing innovations and technological discoveries that come out of Israel every year shows well where those many hours are going. Let's just hope that all those males (and females) get to work less hours and rest once they reach the age of 45!

( A comprehensive Bank of Israel study found that five percent of Israel’s salaried workers work more than 60 hours a week (the standard 8 hour a day work week is 40 hours), fourth highest amongst member states in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). Only South Korea, Japan, and Mexico have higher incidences of work hours.

Workaholism affects mainly educated, male Israelis between 35 and 44 who work as managers, academics, or engineers in public service, hi-tech or research and development.